5 key notes on early outcomes for spinal cord injury traumatic central cord syndrome


A new study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine examines the predictors of improved early outcome for patients with traumatic central cord syndrome.

The researchers examined all patients at a regional spinal cord injury center between January 2004 and June 2009 for the traumatic central cord syndrome. There were 426 patients in the database and 80 had CCS. Sixty-eight of the CCS patients underwent surgical decompression, with 28 percent undergoing surgery within one day of presentation. The other 72 percent underwent surgery on a delayed basis.


Here are five key notes from the study:


1. The patients who presented early had an average American Spinal Injury Association motor score of 62.5, compared with 70 for the delayed group. There wasn't any change in AMS at seven days between the early group and delayed group.


2. The number of patients with early improvement was similar between both groups — 50 percent of the patients in the early group compared with 48 percent of the patients in the delayed group.


3. Both groups spent an average of 3.4 days in the intensive care unit.


4. The overall length of stay was 10.5 days on average for the early group, compared with 12.5 days for the delayed group.


5. The only significant predictor of AMS change was age, and it had a negative effect.


"Early treatment of patients with CCS remains controversial," concluded the study authors. "Although some long-term neurological recovery is expected in patients with CCS, surgeons and patients should not expect early neurological improvement with or without early operative intervention."


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